Disabling Password Resets

I've come across numerous security hardening articles relating to various measures for disabling password resets (i.e. lost password retrieval).


SQL Injection

I've read that SQL injection can be used to obtain the user email etc. and ultimately to gain control of the site by intercepting the password reset email is automatically sent to a user.


Serious Vulnerability?

If I'm already protected against SQL injections (via security plugin), do I need to disable the password reset feature? Is it really a serious vulnerability?

Brute force attacks are on the rise. I've encountered several instances myself in recent months.


2 Answers 2


»The only truly secure system is one that is powered off, cast in a block of concrete and sealed in a lead-lined room with armed guards - and even then I have my doubts.« (Gene Spafford)

The lost password feature might potentially be a risk, but if you are keeping it or not is just a matter of risk assessment. For that assessment there surely is not the one answer, you have to assess it for your case yourself. Last but not least, I personally would say, it is not to an extent unsafe, which would justify the suggestion, to always remove the feature. So I wouldn't say it generally is a serious vulnerability.


The question is not if the feature can be abused, but what is the alternative? recovering lost password is important as most users do not have access to the DB and can not manually update the DB.

Removing the feature for any site with more then one user, or with users which are not technical have the potential of someone getting annoyed by the number of calls he gets to reset user passwords.

If you remove the ability to reset the password you hurt the whole login workflow and you might as well replace it with something entirely different, maybe rely on SSO like FB or some form of 2 factor authentication.

Brute force attacks are on the rise

Just because there are more script kiddies playing around with brute force scripts doesn't make them more dangerous. With all the insecure plugins and themes in the wild, brute forcing is just a waste of time that only people that select stupid passwords (ok, there are many people like that) get hacked that way.

  • Indeed, the alternative would be "contact the webmaster/administrator/support etc." which is cumbersome for all parties. I'm getting the sense that in general, professional/experienced WordPress developers don't, by default, disable password resets on each new site they develop. Commented Jan 13, 2016 at 14:17
  • 2
    Your question was I think the first time I have heard of this specific idea Commented Jan 13, 2016 at 15:03

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